Collaborations Through Connections: Use of Universal Currency

Collaborations Through Connections
The essence of any collaboration is connection and within the human-service fields many of those we serve are disconnected. Just take a moment to think about someone you are working with and level of connection they feel towards their life domains-home, school, and community.

TCOM Experience Sparks Social Justice Movement

It was such an incredible experience to participate in a Roundtable Discussion at last year’s TCOM Conference. The session was enhanced by the group of panelist who participated in the discussion. The title was ’Demystifying the Prison Pipeline: Partnership in Prevention and Equity’ and included: Todd Johnson, PhD, MA; Gregory L. Volz, JD, MS; Jerome Scriptunas, MSW, MSIE; Liam Power, MA; Liz Carmines, BA. The 2-hour sharing highlighted four innovative solutions around Youth A.R.E. (Assets, Resources and Energy) to dismantle the ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline, especially connected with communities impacted by poverty.

It was incredible to listen and learn how these amazing thought-leaders from both coasts of the United States have begun to tackle this systemic problem. The discussion focused on four distinct concepts which together can offer concrete solutions: Trauma-Informed Care in Schools, School version of CANS (SCANS), Youth-Time-Banking (YTBNJ) and Youth Courts in Schools. There were so many take-aways, especially connected with the larger TCOM Collaborative. The over-arching takeaway message was quite clear- ‘Connection is Protection’. We all must actively reach out and bring to the table those who voices are not being heard and respected.

Teamwork of partners. Concept of integration and startup with puzzle pieces

Collaboration for Changes & Connections-Unique Concepts

The essence of any collaboration is connection and within the human-service fields many of those we serve are disconnected. Just take a moment to think about someone you are working with and level of connection they feel towards their life domains-home, school, and community. My guess is that the answer would be, ‘Not very connected.’ For a collaboration to be present there must be a ‘connection’ made with another person. In therapy they would call this building therapeutic rapport based upon trust within the relationship. However, let us shift for a moment and keep this more generalized or universal, not just seen using a clinical lens.

Jerome Scriptunas, a dear friend whom I have known for almost 20 years in serving as part of a statewide children’s system of care, introduced me to the work of Dr. Edgar S. Cahn. I was blown-away after hearing Dr. Cahn share on a zoom-call ideas in support of ‘time’ as a universal conduit for building connections or Time-Banking. This was to be one of those life-altering moments. It led to learning more about this amazing individual’s journey helping to bring to the light the need for systemic reforms. Edgar’s book, “No More Throw Away People”, which was originally written almost 30 years ago, rings true today. He discussed how larger societal views of those impacted by poverty around the world are seen as not having intrinsic worth or value- people, communities, and countries. Dr. Cahn and others, including Robert F. Kennedy, flatly rebuked this premise then, and we must continue to rebuke it today.

All In, All the Time-TIME is Data

Blogging, The Need for TCOM-365 -Not Just For 3-Days served as a ‘call to action’ (myself included) for moving the work of TCOM towards systemic changes worldwide. Jerome became a great TCOM partner as he models through his actions. In fact, his innovative and creative spirit brought time-banking directly into the world of young people, developing Youth Time-Banking. The established definition on the Youth-Time Banking of New Jersey (YTB-NJ) website eloquently states:

Timebanking is a system of service exchange that uses time as the currency and involves a system of tracking the things we do with and for each other. YTB coordinates opportunities for service to others, building a commitment to caring about the community, and supports transition to adulthood.

Youth Time-Banking’s mission encapsulates Opeeka’s goal in keeping the person at the center, supporting whole-person care. Our Person-Centered Intelligence Solution (P-CIS|pronounced pieces) actively supports Transformational Collaborations, where the tracking of time (in real-time) becomes the data collected, which serves to navigate progress and celebrate success for all. Data must be used to support those in care, so that they can begin navigating their own progress; data is similar to a compass, empowering and guiding them towards health and wellness.

We all know that our world continues to be greatly impacted by less than positive events, so we all must make a commitment to enhance the purposes of our work, especially incorporating TCOM. The 2022 TCOM Conference will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana-September 21st through 23rd, with the theme “Managing Change and All That Jazz.” TCOM-365 is apropos to this year’s conference theme in expanding the essence of TCOM from a 3-day event to 365-days of collaborative activities. It is imperative in achieving sustainable systemic changes to recognize that each of us not only play an important role as change agents in our work, but also in our homes and throughout our communities. It is such an honor and privilege to become a part of Team-Opeeka, where the stewardship in the TCOM-365 movement is supported and expanding TCOM worldwide through our transformative collaborations!

Jerome Scriptunas will be joining us on Opeeka’s Innovation in Care Collaboration Podcast Series, sharing updates on his innovative worldwide work-especially with connections to Uganda & Mongolia.

“The probability that we may fail in the struggle, ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”Abraham Lincoln